Working Writers are busy people. I mean, the name says it all. We work and we write. But because we’re adults in this crazy, mixed up world, we might also be parents or students or significant others.
The problem that people run into is that they stretch themselves to thin. Can you truly be an employee and a writer equally? What if you split it three ways with parenting? Or school?
How much can one person truly take?
Where did this come from?
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” – Lucille Ball
So, while perusing some awesome blogs this morning, I ran across this awesome post by Nina Badzin, I’m not an Aspiring Novelist, at Least for Now. In this post, Nina explains how she came to the realization that she enjoyed blogging more than fiction writing, and how she came to terms with that realization. Reading the post (and the comments following it) made me think long and hard about writing, working, blogging, gaming, and all the other things I have going on in my life.
It’s highly inspirational in that way and I completely recommend you take a break from my post to read it. (I’d even link it again, but WordPress tends to do odd things to ping-backs that way.) In particular, the comment by the wonderful Roni Loren that got me really thinking:
“Am I an X who writes or a writer who is an X?”
What does that even mean?
There are two ways to address life, as far as balancing time and effort.
You are either an employee who writes or a writer who is an employee.
You are either a parent who writes or a writer who is a parent.
You are either a student who writes or a writer who is a student.
See where this is going? You can apply this type of balancing game to everything.
It even applies to hobbies. Do you crochet or needlepoint? What about gaming or restoring old cars? Maybe you are a grass roots activist or a triathlete? If you spend time doing it, write a question for it. It doesn’t matter. Anything in your life where you have a responsibility to do something – even if the responsibility is to just spend an hour a week doing it.
Once you have all your questions down, answer them.
In my opinion, people really only have time in their life for three “full time” activities. “Full time” here means that it takes up more than 10 hours of your week. The “full time” activity is the one with priority, meaning the one that comes first in your answer.
As an example, here are my answers:
- I am an employee who writes.
- I am a significant other who writes.
- I am a writer who is a student/is a blogger/is a gamer/is a Paleo enthusiast/etc.
For me, working pays for everything I enjoy (including those I don’t, like school, dentist work, etc.). Working also pays for the apartment I live in with my husband, making it a (slight) priority over him. But he’s right up there, believe you me.
My third “full time” activity is writing. Everything else comes second to it.
Now that I’ve made that realization, I can also make the decision that I need to change some of my priorities around so that I can write more often. It’s one of my driving needs. It has to go higher on the list!
So, give it a try. Three answers. You might not like your results, but it will at least let you be honest with yourself.
Note: Don’t let fear strangle you.
Balancing time and prioritizing responsibilities can be hard. We want to do so much because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of what others think, feel, or say. We’re afraid of putting something higher on our list than something else, and having someone feel unappreciated. We’re afraid of being true to ourselves.
Don’t let fear strangle you. Don’t let it keep you from achieving all the wonderful things you are capable of. Acknowledge the fear and then move past it. Make your priorities and live them.
What are your three answers, and how do you feel about them? Is there something you can do to change them to align with your goals? If not, are you willing to accept your answers and realign your goals?
(Also, sorry for the late post. I’ve been sick, doing Camp Nano, and working. A lot of working. It might be my top priority, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it!)